Incorporation Transparency

Major U.S. Businesses Endorse Ending Anonymous Companies

By Clark Gascoigne

Commercial Support for Ownership Disclosure Grows as National Foreign Trade Council Backs Incorporation Transparency

Momentum continues to build in the fight to tackle the abuse of anonymous shell companies.

Richard Sawaya, the vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents major U.S. multinational businesses, just endorsed cracking down on money laundering and anonymous shell companies in a new op-ed in The Hill regarding Russia sanctions.

While the FACT Coalition takes no position on most of the content in the op-ed, the penultimate paragraph of the article says:

“Congress should focus on… incorporating new ideas… that would crack down on Russian money laundering and shell corporations, expose the financial crimes of Putin cronies, and prevent U.S. real estate from being a haven for kleptocrat money, all without measurably hurting the U.S. economy.”

NFTC—whose’s board of directors consists of major U.S. businesses including Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Fluor, General Electric, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart—joins the entire financial services industry, the National Association of Realtors, the vast majority of small business owners, and other large companies such as Dow Chemical, Unilever, and Salesforce in pushing for incorporation transparency.

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Polaris Fact Sheet: Business Transparency to Combat Human Trafficking

In cities throughout the United States, human trafficking rings operate illicit massage businesses, where women are forced to engage in commercial sex. Criminals engaged in human trafficking and money laundering are able to take advantage of the lack of transparency surrounding beneficial ownership of business entities to evade criminal prosecution. Congress must take action to ensure that law enforcement officials can identify the individual traffickers that control or benefit from illicit massage businesses and hold them accountable.

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Perilous Position: The U.S. Must Strengthen Transparency Laws for the Sake of National Security

By Peter Munro

These past few months, the fight against illicit finance received excellent news — the U.K. Government moved to require their Overseas Territories to disclose the real owners of companies they incorporate. Those territories include tax haven A-listers like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. These critical legislative actions taken by the British Government should similarly be adopted by the U.S. Congress — lest America risk becoming the favorite haven for dirty money.

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Letter from Attorneys General to the House Financial Services Committee to Improve Corporate Transparency

Dear Chairman Hensarling and Ranking Member Waters:

Thank you for your diligent work crafting legislation to improve corporate transparency by requiring companies to disclose the identities of individuals who control and profit from the company at the time of its incorporation. We write to express our support for this change, which would prevent these individuals from using anonymous shell companies to evade accountability,
and to convey the importance of making this information available to state and local enforcement.

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The Miami Herald: Crackdown on dirty money shook Miami real estate. Now, Rubio wants to take it national

In a move with significant implications for the U.S. housing market, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is seeking to take a Treasury Department crackdown on dirty money in luxury real estate and expand it from a few high-priced enclaves to the entire nation.

Rubio says his proposal is an attempt to root out criminals who use illicit funds and anonymous shell companies to buy homes — a form of money laundering that hides the cash’s tainted origin from law enforcement and banks. The widespread practice enables terrorism, sex trafficking, corruption, and drug dealing by providing an outlet for dirty cash, according to transparency advocates.

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AEI: It’s long past time for Congress and the Treasury to step up their global anti-corruption efforts

It is time for Congress to start fighting for something larger than its component pieces. New beneficial ownership legislation, and new anti-corruption laws in general, should be framed as a pillar of a grand struggle to restore American global leadership, expand and spread American prosperity, and create space for new international opportunities with countries that want to play by the rules.

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Just the FACTs: July 18, 2018

After 2 years of bipartisan negotiations, without warning or fanfare, the leadership of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee stripped beneficial ownership provisions out of a bipartisan anti-money laundering bill and planned a Committee vote.

A decision was made to drop beneficial ownership because it was thought to be controversial and a stripped down bill would “pass easily.” However, as FACT’s executive director describes in this op-ed in the American Banker, that was simply not the case.

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